Questions tagged [descartes]

Questions related to René Descartes (31 March 1596 – 11 February 1650)

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Descartes vs Buddha - Was Descartes wrong?

Descartes imagined an Evil Demon to suggest that the external world could be a complete illusion. This Evil Demon would have the power to trick all your senses. This idea is similar to the Buddhist ...
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Which of Descartes’ arguments for the existence of God is the most successful and why?

With regards to his 3rd Meditation and 5th Meditation proofs of God, I can't seem to find any reason to see one as being more successful than the other. Mainly because while his ontological proof ...
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Descartes' Theory of Innate Ideas

Can you guys explain to me about Descartes' three levels of ideas. The first level represents mode, the second finite substance and third infinite substance. How do these three levels of ideas relate ...
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proofreadiing a paper on Descartes. Need help on line “a true physics…”

I'm copy editing a paper on Descartes written by an Italian in French and then translated into English. I need some help with a phrase she uses: "... a true physics..." I have no background in ...
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Formal versus Objective Reality in Descartes

Descartes seems to define an idea as a representational mode of thought, a mode of thought which represents a certain object. For instance, the idea of the sun is a mode of thought which represents ...
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Why did Descartes believe the physical world was determined?

What justification does he give for the idea that everything in the physical world is determined?
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Is there a flaw in my construction of Descartes' argument?

I'm having a difficult time thinking of any flaw in Descartes argument. You can coherently imagine yourself without your physical body. If you can coherently imagine X, then you have reason to ...
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Can we doubt the existence of our thoughts and feelings? How?

I'm reading Russell's "The problems of philosophy" and he says that the only thing we can be certain about is the existence of our "Sense-data" which are mainly our thoughts and emotions. I wonder if ...
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662 views

How can Brie Gertler's disembodiment argument account for the minds of others?

I'm currently reading Brie Gertler's essay In Defense of Mind-Body Dualism. She uses Descartes' conceivability argument to make her own disembodiment argument. For example, she says someone can ...
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How do “I” know that “I” think?

"Cogito, ergo sum", "I think, therefore I am", said Descartes but how does one know that one thinks? Could "my" thoughts not be part of an illusion of someone/something else? Can "I" actually know ...
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How did Wittgenstein reject the Cogito or Cartesian dualism? Can I get the specific sources?

I have heard of the fact that Wittgenstein rejected Cartesianism by the Private Language Argument. But the connections are not clear for me. Also I'd like to know if there is any other piece of ...
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Why can't I doubt that I am doubting?

Assume that doubt is meaningfully defined. Or let's say we define doubt as , both the statement under doubt, and it's complement can be true or false, we do not know, the uncertainty exists. Imagine ...
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Cogito ergo sum

What does Descartes mean when he uses the words "thought", and "doubt", in Cogito ergo sum. Could you please give me possible interpretations and definitions of the words. As the argument progresses,...
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Did Descartes really doubt the existence of God?

I've learned about Descartes' universal doubt and as I understood it, he says mind that is supposed to interact with God isn't part of res extensa and therefore isn't part of the senses we can doubt. ...
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358 views

Mathematics and René Descartes

Why are axioms of mathematics not recognized by René Descartes? How can they be untrue? Can we not treat them as basics which are absolute and build upon them?
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Cogito ergo sum and its actual meaning [duplicate]

I think therefore i am is often accepted as true.But how do we know that the fact we are doubting something makes us real?we can be a stimulation or be dreaming.Why is the act of thinking given so ...
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Is my critique and criticism of Descartes's “I think, therefore I am”, logically valid? [duplicate]

Here is my chain of reasoning and criticism regarding Descartes’s idea. https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/descartes-epistemology/#2 “In the same way, I began by taking everything that was doubtful ...
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Is my argument against Descartes's “I think, therefore I am”, logically sound?

Disclaimer: I have answered each and every answer here on the comments where I think they are wrong. So far, I have not been able to find my mistake or anyone clearly admitting Descartes's. I am ...
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What are some good forums or places to discuss original ideas on philosophy? [closed]

I have a substantive new piece on philosophy which I discuss here: A new theory of Truth Reddit/Philosophy mods keep banning my posts for reasons they do not wish to disclose. I also discuss it in ...
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Descartes's cogito falls short [duplicate]

I just started learning philosophy at school, so please forgive me if what I say sounds naive or has been disproved by philosophers. Basically, the teacher said that Descartes said "I think therefore ...
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Descartes' Demon

This week I've been given to study from my highschool teacher Descartes' Demon argument but I have several doubts I fully understand it ,but let me put this in clear order : 1) I understand that ...
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In Chalmer’s understanding, is a “philosophical zombie” roughly identical to Descartes’ automaton?

I suppose one must say, for Descartes, the automaton was specifically mechanistic. Which is a difference.
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What is the difference between Interactionism and Cartesian Dualism?

I read that Cartesian Dualism is a subtype of Interactionism but I'm still confused. Can somebody help me to clear up this matter?
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A second indubitable axiom

The axiom "I think therefore I am" is the axiom of reality that René Descartes is famous for inventing. Does anybody know of any other such axioms that cannot be disputed (at least on an individual ...
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Ontologically closed statements

"I think therefore I am" is a much disputed "proof". As an argument, it presupposes many posits. Being more cautious, one might make the claim, "I only know what I feel." Is this an ontologically ...
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Is there a flaw in Descartes' “clear and distinct” argument?

Is there a flaw in Descartes' "clear and distinct" argument regarding the separation of mind and body? I think that there is a flaw in the argument. I got this idea from an online lecture. Here is my ...
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What does Hegel think of Descartes' argument in Meditation 4?

In Meditation 4, Descartes argues that we can still regard God's creation of humans as perfect even though humans err. Descartes' arguments goes something like this: Human beings have multiple ...
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What is Malebranche's explanation for the source of human error?

An omnibenevolent God would not deceive us or cause us to be in error, thus the gifts from cannot be the source of error. Rather sin confuses our faculties and prevents us from using them as they ...
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In Wittgenstein's Picture theory, why is self-awareness (e.g. Cogito ergo sum in Descartes) not an a priori true atomic thought?

3.04 An a priori true thought would be one whose possibility guarenteed its truth. Note: I am asking about the earlier Wittgenstein and not his post-Tractatus philosophy. It is clear to me why this ...
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Descartes and why the mind is perceived more evidently than the body

So i am currently reading Descartes Second Meditation and i am not sure if i understand the wax argument, i will try to write out how i understand it and I would appreciate any input. He shows ...
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What were DesCartes's conceptions of objectivity & subjectivity?

This summary of "Descartes's Basic Epistemological Argument" indicates his usage of the terms is different than a contemporary notion of objective as regardless of an observer and subjective as ...
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Descartes' views on species

What were Descartes' views on species? Did he ever say something about this subject? Was it more like the Aristotelian conception of immutable “groups” (without the metaphysical Aristotelian concept ...
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Descartes Wax Example (second meditation)

Descartes provides insightful thinking on the nature of substance using the wax example. I was wondering if there are any other philosophers who took the wax example and suggested other questions on ...
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Has Descartes interpreted the rational mind as res cogitans?

I've read several description of the Descartes' dualism but I'm still not really sure: Does Descartes comprehend the human rational mind, human psychology - the part of thinking that is not ...
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Descartes and feral children

How can the slow learning progress of feral children be explained by Descartes? I believe he said that if we don't know something or believe something wrong, it is because we are choosing wrongly (I ...
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Can there be intention without an intender?

Many refutations of Descartes cogito go along the line of: All Descartes really proved is that thinking is happening, but there can be thinking without there being a thinker to do the thinking. Just ...
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Clear and distinct

Descartes talks about clear and distinct perceptions, in which clear means 'what is present and accessible to the attentive mind' and distinct means 'being clear and sharply seperated from all other ...
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Regarding Descartes' proof of God?

One of Descartes' proofs of God's existence is that we can think of a perfect being, while being imperfect, so the perfect being has to have implanted the idea of Him in us and thus is real. But I can ...
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Descartes and existence

What does it mean to exist for Descartes? Of course I know about cogito ergo sum, but is that all there is to it? Is the only criterion to exist to be able to think? Or is there more to it? And if it ...
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what is the difference between Descartes and Quentin Meillassoux in understanding the term of “Cogito”?

Having read Quentin Meillassoux's 《After Finitude》, I am still quite puzzled by the way he illustrating the 'Cogito, ergo sum' as his start-point to criticize on Kant. Kant established the ...
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Did Descartes view “cogito ergo sum” as applying only to himself?

I'm not a philosophical expert, but I'm wondering. Isn't it contradictory that Descartes, using his cogito, wants to both (a) prove that he exists and is uncertain of others and (b) provides a proof ...
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How are the relation between monads formed?

So each person is a monad, and there is no causation between monads. Perception occurs as a result of aggregation of monads. The aggregation between them gives the perception. My question is, if each ...
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How do I read the SEP citations for a particular author where there are numbers at the end of the sentence as a citation?

How do I read the SEP citations for a particular author where there are numbers at the end of the sentence as a citation? An example from the SEP article on Descartes: "Descartes had a different ...
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What does Descartes mean by God could alter the truth of mathematical theorems, but not laws of nature?

Stumbled upon this statement in Stephen Hawking & Leonard Mlodinow's The Grand Design According to Descartes, God could at will alter the truth or falsity of ethical propositions or ...
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How far can/should one press philosophical doubt?

Should we keep on questioning until nothing is left to question or is there a point on which we need to stand (which we often tend to do)? Descartes used 'I think' as this fixed point where the ...
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Has anyone claimed that the cartesian ego is a necessary condition to any mind?

Has anyone claimed that the Cartesian ego, by which I mean the ability to reflect, from which I may be able to deduce that "I am", is a necessary component of any mind?
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For Descartes, is “res cogitans” : “res extensa” :: “ens rationis” : “ens reale”?

For Descartes, would the following analogy hold? res cogitans : res extensa :: ens rationis : ens reale Or did Descartes distinguish the terms res cogitans from ens rationis and res extensa from ens ...
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To question that error is impossible, what must we do?

As we have learned from Descartes (even though he himself seems sometimes to lose sight of this lesson in the later stages of the Meditations), it is very hard to find beliefs for which there is not ...
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Looking at Descartes, does the temporality of consciousness justify doubt in it?

Let's look again at Descartes' cogito argument: “let him [the deceiving demon] deceive me as much as he can, he will never bring it about that I am nothing so long as I think that I am something. ...
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How is Descartes Sure of Things When He is “Attending” to Them?

On SparkNotes, Rene Descartes apparently knows some things to be true as long as he is "attending" to them. These clear and distinct perceptions are only indubitable so long as he is attending to ...